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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Final Days

I’m writing this from the couch in our friend Kelli’s apartment. It’s August 1st, and the sun is shining, and I’m looking out Kelli’s window at the Olympic mountains, and right at the moment it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to leave Seattle… Of course, if I step closer to the window, I can see I-5 slowing down for the evening rush, and the vast Northgate wasteland, and now a move to Western Massachusetts sounds slightly more tempting.

In any case, it’s too late; Max and I are leaving Seattle in 2 days. Robin leaves 3 days later. This is our last week in Seattle, where I’ve lived my entire life and I’m just now starting to feel sad about it.

Here’s what Robin and I have been doing for the past month, in preparation for the BIG MOVE:

First of all, we sold our house. For any of you who have visited our place on 85th, you know it wasn’t much to speak of; 1100 sqare feet, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, cinderblock. Plus we lived across the street from what appeared to be a demolition site or automobile graveyard. Still, our place sold in 5 days, for 425k (we used Redfin). By contrast, we are looking at stunning Victorian homes in Springfield, MA with over twice the square footage, on tree-lined streets with sidewalks, and none of them are over 300k. So that’s one big plus about moving from Seattle to Springfield.

So we jammed all of our earthly possessions into a storage unit and crashed at Kelli’s crib, overlooking the beautiful Northgate Transit Center. Kell-Bell maintains a strict “No Scrubs” and “No Dogs” household, so Quasar and Haley had to be put into foster care. Quasar (the cute but not very bright one) moved around a bit, because the stress of new environments makes him pee on our friends’ expensive carpets, but Haley (the loyal, loving, wise, and obedient one) settled in happily at Jen’s house (Jen is Max’s mom). Now that Logan and Grey (Max’s brothers) are older, Haley’s baby-scalping tendencies aren’t such a concern.

Next, we embarked on a seemingly endless round of going-away parties and small get-togethers. Which was, you know, fun and all. But a little exhausting.

The first big party was at Jack and Yui’s house, and it was primarily for Jason’s circle of narrow-minded, (mostly)White, (mostly)hetero, suburban friends. Yui cooked some amazing Thai food, as usual, and of course there was plenty of booze. Also, Jack hauled out some menacing implements that he claimed were “BBQ tools” but I have my doubts.

Simone and Max both showed up, which made Robin and me very happy. Even better, I got to administer a foosball smackdown on Max, which I think made me seem like a cool Dad with magical adult super-powers.

During the “We Must Do Karaoke Now Because Jason Insists” segment of the party, erstwhile fifi drummer Joel Enbom came out of seclusion and sang a karaoke Elvis Costello song, and Jackal sang “Bad to the Bone” to a small stuffed panda bear (or something). Finally, at the late hour of – gosh, what was it? 9PM? Jack bade everyone farewell with a terse “Get out.”

Click here to view all photos from the party at Jack and Yui’s.

In the weeks between the first and second BIG parties, there were a ton of smaller get-togethers:

I went out for sushi with Max and his Mom, Jen, which might seem weird but it was actually very sweet. Jen gave me a good-luck bracelet she bought at Yellowstone many years ago, and Max and I plan to take turns wearing it as we drive to MA.

We had Chinese food, Lynnwood-style, with the lovely Donelle and her husband David. They just got married! And now their initials are both “DA”! Congratulations!

We had a small-scale family reunion with my sister Jessica and my cousin Brian and their respective clans. This was the first time I got to see and hold my new nephew, Erik (named in honor of my late cousin Erik).

I had a delightful evening out with 3 beautiful friends from my MLT days: Laurie, Susan, and Cami. Not pictured: The moment later in the evening when, prostrate on the floor in Laurie’s bathroom, it became clear to me that vodka, Mongolian Chicken, several bottles of wine, and pizza should NEVER be mixed. Urrrgh.

Next, there was a wonderful evening out with Kell-Bell, Simone, Lorie (not Laurie), Bruno, James, and William at Madison Park vegetarian hotspot Cafe Flora.

Also, my co-workers felt compelled to buy me lunch. Once I figured out that they were footing the bill, I added a salad and a couple of beers to my order.

Click here to view all photos from these get-togethers.

Lastly, there was the second BIG party at William’s house, which was geared more toward Robin’s free-thinking, queer, urban, godless socialist friends. For those who don’t know him, William is one of our most beloved comrades, and he rents the lower part of a mansion on Lake Washington, right next to the swanky Seattle Tennis Club. He also has a pool! What with the mansion and the pool and the intoxicating proximity to old money, William has a LOT of friends.

William made some kind of delicious punch, which he dubbed “Northwest Tears” or something, and let me tell you… that was some dope punch. Props. William also made some apricot mazurka and Robin made a ton of bruschetta and pasta salad and everyone who showed up brought something to eat or drink and we reaped a bounteous harvest. Bruno and I blew up some flotation devices, and we used those throughout the day in William’s (recently repaired and now largely algae-free) pool.

There were a lot of people there: former students of Robin’s, UW faculty, city employees, and one or two of my friends who weren’t able to attend the previous party, tailored specifically to their MLT needs. These unfortunate souls huddled together in a corner of William’s patio, frightened by all the angry political activists shaking their fists at the patriarchy.

Then there was karaoke. William and some of his friends are accomplished singers, which kinda makes karaoke a bummer for the rest of us, who just want to drunkenly shout the lyrics to “Born to be Wild.” I can’t compete on that level, so I knew I would have to do something more… theatrical.

Which is why I spent an entire week constructing a squirrel tail and memorizing the rap sections of “Gonna Make You Sweat.”

William provided the Martha Wash backup (kinda) and Robin added some “flava.”

Afterward, I heard two comments which summed up the audience’s reaction:

“Hmm… well, you were kind of… out of tune… so it… wasn’t that good.” (a former student of Robin’s, speaking to me)

“I never liked him before, and I like him even less after THAT.” (another former student of Robin’s, speaking to Robin)

So whatever. Oh, I also played the conga.

Finally, the sun set, the guests drifted away, and four of us were stuck cleaning up until 2AM. I think somewhere in there, I went skinny-dipping, but my memory is hazy. Too much “Northwest Tears.”

Next: The Long Drive Begins.

One Comment

  1. How is it that I have sung Karaoke like three times in my life and two of them you have managed to put online ???

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